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Positively 4th Street

Product no.: 978-0312680695
Tenth Anniversary Edition. The story of how four young bohemians on the make - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Baez, and Richard Farina - converged in Greenwich Village.

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Publisher's Synopsis
When Bob Dylan, age twenty-five, wrecked his motorcycle on the side of a road near Woodstock in 1966 and dropped out of the public eye, he was recognized as a genius, a youth idol, and the authentic voice of the counterculture: and Greenwich Village, where he first made his mark as a protest singer with an acid wit and a barbwire throat, was unquestionably the center of youth culture.

So embedded are Dylan and the Village in the legend of the Sixties - one of the most powerful legends we have these days - that it is easy to forget how it all came about. In Positively Fourth Street, David Hajdu, whose 1995 biography of jazz composer Billy Strayhorn was the best and most popular music book in many seasons, tells the story of the emergence of folk music from cult practice to popular and enduring art form as the story of a colorful foursome: not only Dylan but his part-time lover Joan Baez - the first voice of the new generation; her sister Mimi - beautiful, haunted, and an artist in her own right; and her husband Richard Farina, a comic novelist (Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me) who invented the worldliwise bohemian persona that Dylan adopted - some say stole - and made as his own.

The story begins in the plain Baez split-level house in a Boston suburb, moves to the Cambridge folk scene, Cornell University (where Farina ran with Thomas Pynchon), and the University of Minnesota (where Robert Zimmerman christened himself Bob Dylan and swapped his electric guitar for an acoustic and a harmonica rack) before the four protagonists converge in New York.

Based on extensive new interviews and full of surprising revelations, Positively Fourth Street is that rare book with a new story to tell about the 1960s. It is, in a sense, a book about the Sixties before they were the Sixties - about how the decade and all that it is now associated with it were created in a fit of collective inspiration, with an energy and creativity that David Hajdu captures on the page as if for the first time.

Reviews
"A hauntingly evocative blend of biography, musicology, and pop culture history."      ~Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"[In] a teeming stack of Dylan biographies and commentaries, [this is] the one new publication of distinction and clarity."       ~David Remnick, The New Yorker

"One of the best books about music in America."       ~Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

Excerpt
“Fariña gave Bob this lecture” said Neil. ” ‘If you want to be a songwriter, man, you’d better find yourself a singer.’ You see, Bob and me, we were both writing, but I knew how to sing. Fariña told him straight, ‘Man, what you need to do, man, is hook up with Joan Baez. She is so square, she isn’t in this century. She needs you to bring her into the twentieth century, and you need somebody like her to do your songs. She’s your ticket, man. All you need to do, man, is start screwing Joan Baez.’ According to Neil, Dylan joked, “That’s a good idea –I think I’ll do that. But I don’t want her singing none of my songs.”

Author Hajdu, David
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 352 pp.
Publisher Picador 2011
Browse these categories as well: Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Inspirational Poetry, Prose and Sacred Art, Noteworthy Releases 2011

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